GM: Omg guys, this chapter lagged foreveeer ;_; It never ended. (Well, okay, it did, but it lasted waaaay longer than I thought it would. Derp. I'm thinking of keeping the fluffy-ness that is Ed going on for another chapter or two before shit hits the fan again. :D (It won't really, things will just get complicated) Honestly, I don't even know if I wanna change him back, but, there's gotta be an ending, right? Right. It'll happen. Eventually. I promise.
Fullmetal: I'm glad you did! This story is actually getting pretty complicated on my part, but I'm plowing forwards all the same. XD
Gothic-Romantic99: Thank you so much for the feedback! I also love child!Ed. :D (hugs the child!Ed) And I can't say it's fixed yet. I'm not spoiling anything, but it's not completely over yet with that transmutation circle. It may be next chapter or the one after that. Who knows!
Rocking Phillip: Glad it could make you smile. :D Here's the next chapter.
Karin Matthews: I'm glad it did. :) Here is the next chapter!
GM: Also, small notes.
(1) I did a comic for a certain part of this chapter. Not saying my art is good or anything, but I did like the outcome. (All except for the hands.) You guys are welcome to check it out of you like. I'll put a link in the profile. It was a good Roy study!
(2) I took notice that Edward has had a birthday somewhere in earlier chapters; but since I want Edward to remain five throughout the majority—and rest—of the story, I have changed his earlier age to four. Not that big of a deal. Just thought I'd mention it.
Song(s) of inspiration: Closer to the Edge - 30 seconds to Mars, Empty - Click Five, Painting Flowers - All Time Low, and Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight. All of these songs were put to exceptional Fullmetal Alchemist AMVs. I will include those in the profile as well if you'd like to check them out!
The remainder of the train ride was spent with Roy talking to Al about what the next steps in their research would be. Ultimately, they hadn't come to a decision as to what to do with Edward. He wasn't big enough to really do many things by himself. Physically, anyway. He would still need help with things. By the time the train rolled into Central station, they had decided to take him back to Riza's house.
"Brother, wake up." Alphonse shook Edward's shoulder, and the blond child yawned.
"Leave me alone, Al..." Edward grumbled. He sat up moments later though, mumbling under his breath as he slid off of Al's lap and into the isle.
"Ed, me and Colonel have decided to let you keep staying with miss Riza for now. You're not as tall as you were, and..." Alphonse trailed off at the look Edward was giving him. Edward then shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants, moving up the isle ahead of both Roy and Alphonse.
"Well, that went great." Roy said sarcastically.
"Yeah..." Alphonse sighed, his helmet tilting to look down.
"We better go. I don't want him running off." Roy said, getting to his feet. He then headed after Edward, and Alphonse was soon to follow.
Not surprisingly, Edward wasn't easy to spot. Roy and Al split up to look for him, Al looking on the left side while Roy searched the right. People were bustling around, getting to and from their destination; it was actually quite crowded.
"Edward!" Roy called out to the boy, but didn't hear a response. And if he did respond, Roy hadn't heard it.
As Roy moved further down the platform, however, he could see a small crowd forming. What the hell? He sighed in irritation, setting the problem of Edward aside and moving to take a look. He moved through the crowd, shoving past people to see what the problem was.
As Roy made it to the front though, he realized that the attention grabber was Edward. He was crouched, hunched over with both hands grabbing at his ears with his eyes screwed shut. A man stood next to him, panicking and trying to console him.
"What happened here?" Roy asked, stepping forwards.
"I knocked into him," the man spoke, "it was an accident...he fell; I'm not sure if he's alright because he won't answer me." He replied concernedly.
"Edward," Roy spoke, crouching next to him. "Edward, what's going on?" Edward didn't answer him, beginning to rock on his feet. His mouth appeared to be moving, but whatever he was saying was so quiet Roy couldn't hear it over the noise of the station. "Edward Elric, look at me." He demanded. He couldn't use his title, but he was doing the closest thing.
Edward's eyes snapped open then. He stopped the rocking motion and his jaw slackened, and he slowly turned his head to look at Roy. Roy stared back into the golden orbs, just a bit disturbed at the petrified expression painting the blond's face. "Edward...?" He asked, concern growing. Edward didn't move, just staring at him with that expression on his face. Roy ultimately decided to move him, reaching forwards to pick him up.
Edward screamed when Roy's hands touched him, jerking like it had hurt. Roy ignored it, pulling Edward into his arms and standing up with him. Edward went completely still, scream dying down as every muscle in his body seemed to lock up.
"We're working on the alchemical path to immortality. So far...quite successful. The only setback being that our subjects keep losing their memory. Only one of them has ever regained them, but he died shortly after due to shock."
"Edward," Roy pulled Edward away a little bit to look at him, "look at me. Edward, please." Roy tried coaxing him, but Edward was ultimately unresponsive. "Shit." Roy cursed, before hurriedly moving through the crowds to find Alphonse.
"Colonel!" Alphonse caught up with him, "you found him! Thank goodness!" Roy shook his head. "Alphonse, I have to tell you something. Let's get to Hawkeye's." Roy then headed out of the station, Alphonse practically on his heels.
"You mean...he might die? After all this?" Alphonse was shaking, not wanting to accept what Roy was telling him. They were sitting in Riza's living room, while Riza herself was trying to get a response from Ed.
"I'm not saying that, but the possibility of him getting out of it...it's slim, Alphonse." Roy replied grimly. They both ceased conversation, looking over to Riza and Edward. Riza was holding him much like a baby, running her fingers through his hair and talking to him quietly. Edward had a death grip on her blouse, eyes still open wide in shock. He was trembling, small whimpers escaping him despite Riza talking to him.
"It doesn't help that the memories he got back weren't good ones. Those memories on a mentally five year old...I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he didn't make it, Alphonse." Roy spoke quietly.
Alphonse didn't want to believe it. But even his optimism was wearing thin at this point. "Isn't there a way to suppress his memories? At all?" He asked. "I don't want him to die, Colonel!" Roy knew that Al was upset.
"Alphonse, we can't just suppress his memories; if we did that, he wouldn't have a clue as to who any of us were. He wouldn't remember anything." Roy replied.
"That would be better than him dying, though! Please, I don't want to lose him..." Alphonse said.
"You're not thinking rationally, kid. We have to think about this." Roy sighed, running his fingers through his hair. "If we did that, we may not...we might not be able to get him back to normal fully. Let's examine the process instead of just doing it on a whim." Even though he didn't know the consequences to the procedure, the option was sounding pretty damn good to Roy despite the obvious dangers.
But then came the possibility of it interfering with what they did to get him back to normal. Would his memories be able to come back if they did this? What if they didn't? There was also the possibility of all this alchemy hurting the boy. He had just gone through a transmutation the other night; would it be safe to do something else the next day?
"Roy, if I may offer my thoughts...I'm agreeing with Alphonse on this one. Suppressing his memories seems like the best option. I may not know much about alchemy, but I'm sure worse could happen if we don't at least try." Riza's words built his confidence, if only by a little.
After a while, Roy spoke. "You're right, Riza," he said, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, "if worse comes to worse, we'll...cross that bridge when we get to it." As much as he didn't want to rush in and just do something, a decision would have to be made quickly; Edward's life depended on it. "Alphonse, get me a pen." He said, before getting off of the couch and moving over to Riza. He took Edward's hand, uncurling his fingers from her blouse and pulling him into his lap.
Edward cried out in panic, struggling to get away from Roy. "Riza, give me a hand." Roy grabbed Edward's head as Riza took his hands. She rubbed her thumbs over the top of them, trying to calm him down. Edward cried out miserably, tightening his grip on her fingers. Riza ignored it as Alphonse came back shortly after that with a pen, holding it out to Roy wordlessly.
Roy took the pen, biting down on his lower lip as he sketched a circle out on Edward's forehead. He made sure not to hurt him, only handing the pen back to Alphonse when he was done.
"Edward, don't worry. It'll be okay." He was saying it more to calm himself down than Edward, honestly. He pressed his fingers to the circle, and immediately it emanated a bright, white light. Edward ceased whatever struggling he was in the process of, his body relaxing just a little bit. He then whimpered, trying to pull his hands away from Riza.
"Hold him." Roy told her, seeing the action. Riza held onto him, still trying to comfort him. A few minutes later the light died down. Edward's eyes slipped closed almost automatically and he went limp in Roy's arms, grip loosening from Riza's fingers. Roy sighed. Although it had been a small transmutation, it still drained him of his energy.
"I created a wall to keep his memories contained; now what are we going to tell him?" Roy asked after a minute. "He needs some form of structure to live by." He said grimly.
"Colonel," Alphonse spoke, "you'll have to tell him that you're his dad." he said.
Roy looked at him confusedly. "Why is that?" He asked.
"You told Mr. Brody that he was your son, so telling him otherwise might land you in an awkward situation." Alphonse explained.
"Shit. That's right." Roy cursed. Riza was understandably lost. "And what about his mother? I haven't dated anyone solidly enough, and he's going to want to know..." He probably should have figured this all out before doing the transmutation.
"I guess...I'll play the part. It's only temporary, and it's not like I don't get along with him. Plus, I am dating you." Riza spoke up.
"Are you sure you're okay with him calling you mom?" Roy asked, lifting a brow.
"Wouldn't be the first time. He's had slip-ups." Riza replied, shrugging with a bit of a smirk. Roy just smiled dryly.
"In that case," Alphonse spoke up, "you two should live together. Otherwise it'll just seem strange to him that you guys live apart." He said.
Both Riza and Roy faltered at this, staring back at each other. While Roy started blushing, Riza's mouth tightened into a wide, straight line. After several minutes, Roy cleared his throat. "I'm gunna...go go Edward's stuff..." He mumbled, before getting to his feet. He passed Edward to Riza, turning and heading to the door. "Alphonse...I'll have to pause in my search for this, I hope you know. You and my team will have to continue looking for me. Please tell me if you find anything." Roy then let himself out.
The house was left in silence, the only occupants being Edward, Riza, and Alphonse. Riza stood up with Edward, shoving a few locks of hair behind her ear. "I'm going to go put him to bed." She said quietly. She disappeared down the hall with Edward, and Alphonse was left to his own thoughts.
He couldn't be Ed's brother for the time being. Even that connection would cause trouble. Luckily, Alphonse was fine with this. He didn't have to be a stranger; he could be his friend. Even so, he'd have to devote most of his time trying to look for something to help Edward. Even though the search had pushed onwards for a long time, it seemed that everything they found had a dead end. And a rather vague one at that. There was hardly any research regarding it, and Roy had burnt down the facility that held all of the research and notes.
Alphonse was eventually brought out of his thoughts as Riza emerged from the hallway. "Are you alright, Alphonse?" She asked.
Alphonse nodded his head. "Yes ma'am. I think I'm going to go now, though. I want to get started on research as soon as possible." He replied.
Riza just nodded in understanding. "Alright, Alphonse. Please take care of yourself." She said. Alphonse nodded to her, before turning and heading out of the house.
Riza was left alone after that. Not really having much else to do, she went into the Kitchen and started washing the few dishes that were in the sink.
Edward wasn't at all sure what to do when he woke up. This place didn't look familiar. But then again, nothing did. Where was he? What was he? Who was he? All these questions flooded his mind faster than he could comprehend them. He looked down at the blue blanket covering him, before slowly pushing it back and scooting to the edge of the bed. He slid off of it, landing on his feet and padding to the doorway. He looked up and down the hall, before slowly stepping out.
This was all very strange. Something told him that there should have been a story to him; a life. Why would he just be here with not so much as a reason? He moved down the hallway, stopping at the end of it. A woman and a man were on the couch talking. "Um...hello...?" He asked.
Riza was the first to notice him. 'Edward? Are you awake?" Of course he was awake, she told herself. She stood up, walking over to him and crouching down in front of him. "How do you feel?" She asked him.
"I feel fine...but who are you? Is that my name? Edward?" Edward frowned at her.
"Edward, I...I'm your mom. And that is your name. That man over there," she paused, pointing over to Roy, "is your dad. Does any of this look familiar?" She asked. Of course she knew the answer would be no, but she had to do well in making sure to introduce everything to him slowly.
"No." Edward replied simply. "What's a mom and dad?" He asked.
"Well, a mom and a dad are people who take care of you." Riza kept the answer simple, and Edward seemed to accept it.
"Alright, so...how old am I?" He asked, again.
"Five." Riza answered automatically.
The questions came at lightening speed, and Riza was patient enough to answer each one to the best of her ability. When Edward finally ran out of questions, the 'family' sat down to eat dinner. Riza had cooked ahead of time, making some form of baked chicken, baked potatoes, and green beans. Edward seemed to like the green beans okay, but didn't touch the potatoes.
"Roy, you need to give Edward a bath before he goes back to bed." Riza spoke when Edward had finished and gone to the room he was staying in. "I don't want to embarrass him." She added, picking up the dishes.
Roy sighed, head tipped back. "Fine..." He said slowly. He wasn't all for this 'domesticated' life, and he knew very well that Riza wasn't either. But this was their best option as far as keeping Edward at arms length. This was the only part of his life that he was supposed to know about for now, and Roy would try his damnedest to keep it that way.
"Oh yeah," Roy said suddenly, "we need a plan. Both of us need to go back to work. So we need somewhere for him to go during the day." he mused. "Elicia started preschool a week ago, right? I think Edward fits in the age range." he added.
"Maybe. I'll look into it. But if we do anything, we're going to need records, Roy. Where would we get birth certifications and things like that?" Riza asked.
"Ah..." Roy sat forwards, thoughtful look settling onto his face. "You have that friend of yours...Sheska, right? Doesn't she work near the Investigations department?" He asked.
"Yes." Riza replied.
"Have her forge the documents." Roy said automatically, before getting to his feet. "Then we'll look into this whole preschool deal day after tomorrow." He mumbled. He left the conversation at that, disappearing into the living room and down the hallway.
"Edward, please. Stop splashing." Roy grunted as he wrestled with the child, trying to wash his hair.
"I don't like shampoo!" Edward yelled at him, trying to shove the hand holding the offending goo away. Roy was not too pleased with this. He grabbed Edward's hair—not hard—before pulling him closer and rubbing the suds into it. Edward pouted, crossing his arms. Roy had to wonder, idly, if the child had been washing his hair at all over the last few months. He never noticed the blond's strong dislike of the hair product.
What became even more so known, was that Edward hated water being poured over his head. When Roy poured the cup over his head to rinse it, Edward had a fit. He flailed and cried, grabbing onto Roy's pants and would not stop screaming until Riza came in to help. She managed to get Edward to lay in the tub so she could rinse it that way.
"I don't want dad to help me, I want you to help me." Edward was now showing a clear dislike towards Roy. Roy grunted in annoyance.
"You know what? I—," he stopped whatever he was saying as Riza flashed him a dangerous look. "...Fine." He got up, leaving the bathroom to let Riza help Edward. He never asked to bathe him anyway! Of course Roy was miffed; Edward had never shown more of a liking to Riza than him before.
But maybe it was the fact that Edward had wanted his mother back for a long time. It wasn't the kid's fault. He'd just have to use other methods to get along with the child. Hell, he had to if they were going to make this work.
Riza, on the other hand, found Edward to still be pretty well behaved if she didn't make a big deal out of things he was opposed to. Once she was satisfied that he was very squeaky clean, she plucked him out of the bathtub and draped the waiting towel around his shoulders. "Go have your dad help you get your pajamas on. Try not to give him a hard time, Edward...he's just a little upset right now is all." She told him.
Edward stood where he was, picking the fuzz off of the towel. Eventually, though, he left the bathroom to go find Roy. He found him in the living room, sitting on the couch hunched over resting his face in his hands. Edward frowned. Had he upset him?
"Dad?" He ventured a bit cautiously, resting a hand on his knee.
Roy pulled his hands away to look at him. "What?" He demanded.
"Can you, um..." Edward paused, looking back at the hallway momentarily before returning his gaze to Roy. "Can you help me get my pajamas on?" He finally asked, tone quiet.
"Yeah..." Roy replied with a sigh. He got to his feet, following after Edward as the child walked back to his bedroom. Roy went over to the dresser and opened the third drawer, pulling out a pair of blue flannel pajamas. He then grabbed a pair of boxers out of the top drawer, shutting both of the drawers back before turning to Edward.
Edward stood there a bit stupidly, watching him. They shared a staring match for a few minutes, and Roy couldn't help but feel...awkward. He knew this was a child; he had been dealing with said 'child' for quite a while now. But just knowing that the boy was Fullmetal...it was unnerving all over again.
And he was playing the part of his father no less! Didn't Edward hate his father?
Roy shook his head, more to clear his thoughts than to break eye contact, before kneeling down and taking the towel from Ed. Edward involuntarily shuddered as the cool air kissed his flesh, grabbing onto Roy's shoulders as he helped him into his boxers. Roy helped him into his pajamas next, and the two stood in an almost comfortable silence for a few minutes.
"Dad?" Edward spoke up after those few minutes. "I know I don't remember anything, but please don't be sad. I'm sure I'll remember something sooner or later..." Edward stood up on his toes, wrapping his arms around Roy's neck.
Roy was surprised to say the least. Here he was, not having been all that nice to the kid, and Edward was worried about him? The kid had no memories of his life, yet he was trying to comfort him. Honestly, it furthered the guilt that bubbled up inside of Roy. He was lying to the kid. Sure, he knew it was to protect him, but Edward had gone through a lot, and Roy was just some guy taking care of him in his time of need. Despite the fact that Edward misinterpreted his foul mood, he was touched by the fact that Edward even cared.
Hesitantly, Roy wrapped his arms around Edward to return the embrace. He stood up with him, moving over to the bed and setting him down. "Do you want a story?" He asked. If Edward was trying to make this work, he'd do his damnedest to try his best too.
"Yeah." Edward nodded. "Just pick one out, if you want." He replied, grinning up at him. Roy just chuckled. It was a nice change of pace to see Edward like this instead of the mess he had been earlier that day.
Roy moved over to the bookshelf, thumbing through the books he had brought over for Edward. He stopped on Peter Pan. Rather ironic story, he thought to himself. He pulled the book from the shelf, before returning to the bed. "I think you'd enjoy this one." He said.
"What is it?" Edward asked curiously, peeking at the cover.
"Peter Pan," Roy replied, opening it to the first page, "it's a book about a boy who can fly and who doesn't want to grow up."
"Well that's not right," Edward said, folding his arms across his chest, "everybody's gotta grow up sometimes."
Roy shook his head. "Well...let's just read the book, okay? I'll read the first two chapters tonight."
Roy began reading, Edward sitting quietly throughout most of it. He fell asleep somewhere in the middle of chapter two, when Peter was in the process of sweeping Wendy and her brothers off to Neverland. Roy got to his feet with the book, pulling the blanket up over him and returning the book to the shelf.
He and Riza had eventually come to the decision that Roy would sleep on the couch. So he changed into his pajamas, and went to bed.
Both Riza and Roy were startled from whatever sleep they were getting when a surprised yell woke them. Roy was already on his way to Edward's room when Riza opened her door.
"What is it?" She asked as Roy went into Edward's room.
"Black Hayate!" Roy spoke the dog's name, reprimanding him. "Get off of the bed! Edward, are you alright?"
"What is that thing?" Edward was scared. He had been sleeping when he felt something wet on his face; he had woken up to Black Hayate licking his face.
"It's a dog, Ed," Riza explained, stepping into the room and grabbing Black Hayate's collar, "I'm sorry he woke you." She apologized, before pulling the dog out of the room. Roy sighed, glancing at the clock hanging above Edward's bed. Five in the morning. He sighed, rubbing his face. "Well, we might as well get you up now." He mumbled. He would have had to wake up in thirty minutes anyway.
"I wanna go back to sleep..." Edward replied with a yawn, rubbing at his eyes.
"No, no, you can take a nap later. I'm probably going to see if Gracia can watch you. Me and Ri—your mother need to go to work today." Roy caught the slip up before it could leave his lips, before going to the closet to get an outfit. Edward sided up next to him, frowning at the man's taste in clothing. It took nearly twenty minutes to actually choose an outfit, Edward putting his two cents in as to how it would look.
So there he was in the bathroom, dressed in a gray T-shirt and a pair of dark green shorts. Roy stood next to him in his uniform, brushing his teeth. Edward was holding his own red tooth brush, staring it down. Roy looked down at Edward. "What are you doing? Brush your teeth." He said, before pulling his tooth brush away and spitting in the sink. Edward looked up at him with a frown, before slowly holding the tooth brush up to him.
"Of course..." Roy grumbled, taking the tooth brush from him. He coated it in a small layer of toothpaste, crouching so that he could be eye level with the blond. Well, mostly eye level, anyway. The kid was still short. Edward opened his mouth, and Roy brushed his teeth quickly before picking him up to reach the sink. Edward spit the paste out, before scrambling out of Roy's hold and disappearing from the bathroom and down the hall.
"Thanks, Ms. Hughes. I appreciate it." Riza placed the phone down after having talked to Gracia, looking up as Edward went into the living room. He stopped in place right before the couch, before climbing onto the cushion and sitting down. Riza grabbed a plate with jelly toast on it and a glass of milk, going into then living room and handing the plate to him. She set the glass on the end table next to the couch, before looking at Edward. "Hurry up and eat your breakfast, Edward. We're going to take you and drop you off at Ms. Gracia's house once you finish." She told him, before going to the back door.
"'Kay." Edward replied, picking the toast up and taking a bite out of it. "Who's Ms. Gracia?" He asked after taking a bite.
Riza let Black Hayate in, moving back to the Kitchen to get him some food. "She's a friend of ours. You've met her daughter Elicia." She replied.
Edward stared at Black Hayate as he trotted past him. He stuck his tongue out at the dog, before inhaling the rest of his toast.
Roy appeared from the hallway shortly after Edward finished, appearing quite tired. "I will definitely need coffee today." He said bluntly, passing Edward and going to the front door. "Are you two ready?" He asked.
"Yes," Riza replied, coming into the living room to take Edward's plate. She looked at the glass of milk. "Edward, drink your milk." She said.
"Uh-uh." Edward replied. "It looks funny."
Riza sighed, taking the glass. "I'll put it in the fridge. You can have it for dinner tonight. Now go get in the car." She told him, going back to the Kitchen.
Edward slipped off of the couch, going over to Roy and wrapping an arm around his leg. "Dad, where do you and mom work?" He asked. They had the same clothes, so they worked at the same place. Right?
"Military." Roy replied simply, before opening the door. He steered Edward outside, helping him into the car as Riza came out.
The ride to Gracia's was silent. Neither Roy nor Riza wanted to talk, and Edward was too busy looking out the window. There were buildings all around town. There were also a lot of houses, too.
When the car came to a stop, Edward lifted his head.
"We're here, Edward." Roy spoke. He and Riza got out of the car, so Edward unbuckled his seatbelt and got out too. He walked ahead, grabbing Riza's hand. Riza glanced down at him, before giving his hand a reassuring squeeze. Roy was already at the door, waiting. By the time Riza got to the door with Edward, Gracia had opened the door.
"Good morning Roy, Riza. How are you two this morning?" She asked them.
"I'm doing fine. Tired." Riza replied.
Roy nodded in agreement. "Black Hayate woke Edward up this morning around 5." He added after Riza. "So in turn, he woke us up."
"So I was told." Gracia giggled, before stepping aside. "Please come in, I just made tea." She said. Both Roy and Riza stepped inside, Edward following after the two. Gracia closed the door after them and disappeared into the Kitchen. Roy took this opportunity to take a seat on the couch, motioning for Riza to sit next to him. Edward moved over to Roy, climbing into his lap. He leaned back against him, sticking his thumb in his mouth as Gracia came back.
"It looks like you three are settling in." Gracia spoke, taking a seat in the armchair across from them. She set the tea kettle and three cups on the coffee table, pouring tea into each of them. She placed the kettle down, moving the sugar closer to the two. "I hear you're interested in getting Edward into preschool." She added.
"Yes," Riza spoke up, "I was wondering if you could give us some information in the school Elicia is going to." she added.
Gracia nodded, picking her own tea up and taking a sip. "Oh yes. It's a lovely place. They teach the children simple math and the alphabet. There are many children that he'd be able to play with, and Elicia will be there too of course. They also have circle time and nap time, and on Fridays they have Show and Tell." she explained. "You can even apply for free lunches if you'd like."
"That sounds nice." Riza replied. "How about the teachers?" She asked.
"Oh, they're wonderful," Gracia said, "very nice to the children as well as patient."
"Good, good." Riza nodded. "And how many days a week?" She asked.
"Two. They would extend it, but since the lowest age is three, they can't really change it for the younger children." Gracia explained. Riza nodded in reply.
"Mom," Edward pulled his thumb out of his mouth, "what's a...um," he frowned, trying to remember the word she had used, "the, um, preschool."
Riza smiled. "It's a place you go to, to learn things Edward. Like to understand letters and things like that."
"Oh." Edward replied simply. "And what's a teachers?" He asked moments later.
"They are the people who teach you." Riza replied, again.
"Oh." Edward fell silent after that, running out of questions. "I have to use the bathroom." He suddenly said, worming out of Roy's lap.
Roy sighed, getting to his feet. "I'll show him where it is." He said, before following Edward out of the room.
Once the two left, Gracia spoke up. "Is Roy all right? He's been awfully quiet since you two came." She said.
"He's stressed," Riza replied, taking a moment to prepare the tea that Gracia had poured, "between work and trying to find a cure for Edward, he's also having to take care of him...I think it's finally taking it's toll after all this time." she said.
"I understand. It's been a long time since Edward was...well, himself. I can imagine that Roy's wanting to find a solution as quickly as possible, too. It's a good thing he has you to help him with Edward." Gracia said, taking another sip of her own tea. "Children are a lot to handle on your own." She added.
"Indeed they are. I'm doing my best to help him, but for some reason Edward's just more attached to him than me. I mean, there are some things so far he only wants me to help him with, but for the most part Roy is the one he wants." Riza sighed, tucking some of her hair behind her ear. "Honestly, I see the regular Ed and the child Edward as two different people. The child is so well behaved, and the Ed that joined the military...well, he's a nice kid, but they are different in so many ways." She explained.
"I know exactly what you mean." Gracia replied.
Roy returned with Edward shortly after that, and Roy announced that they were running five minutes late. Riza gave Edward a quick hug, and the two left Edward in Gracia's care.
"So Edward, how are you feeling this morning?" Gracia watched Edward as she folded the laundry. Edward was laying on the couch on his stomach, drawing on a piece of paper with crayons.
"Fine." Edward replied distractedly. He swayed his feet, then slowly stopped. "Ms. Gracia, does Elicia have a dad?" He asked suddenly. "I know I have a mom and a dad, but there's no dad here." He said curiously.
Gracia paused in folding a bathroom towel, looking at him. After a few moments, she shook her head. "No, honey. Elicia's father has passed. He's in heaven now." She replied.
"What's heaven?" Edward replied, frowning as he pushed himself to sit up.
Gracia thought about it. She distinctly remembered Edward's beliefs. "Well, it's a place that some people believe that the good people go when they die." She spoke, keeping the explanation vague and simple.
"Oh." Edward replied. "What's die?" He asked.
Gracia paused to think for a moment, then shook her head. "Well, would you look at that? It's time for your nap, Edward." She smiled at him, folding the towel she held and standing up. "You can use Elicia's bed, since she's at preschool." She told him.
"But I'm not tired..." Edward mumbled, trying to hide the fact that he was now rubbing his eyes.
"Oh yes you are," Gracia replied, "I know the signs, young man." She plucked Edward up from the couch, carrying him to Elicia's room. She entered the room and went over to the bed, setting him down. "You can have lunch when you get up, then we'll go pick Elicia up from Preschool. Do you want anything in particular?" She asked.
"Um...no, anything's fine." Edward answered. His mind was off of the previous matter now. He rolled onto his stomach, pulling the blanket over himself. Gracia nodded, leaving the door ajar as she left the room.
"Sheska, please." Riza stood in the office of the Investigations department, arms folded across her chest. "You won't get in trouble for it, I promise." Even with the strings that Riza could pull, Sheska was still hesitant to carry out the favor.
"But Riza, you know how the Fuhrer feels about this sort of thing..." Sheska replied slowly, starting to stack a few books on the corner of her desk.
"Sheska," Riza tried again, "we can't get him into the preschool unless we have a birth certificate; we can't use his!" She said. According to that piece of paper, Edward was fourteen years old this year. But right now in the moment, he was only five. Plus, they weren't listed as his parents on the original document, either.
Riza grabbed a piece of paper, scribbling details onto it with a pen she had grabbed. "Fill out a new certificate with these details," she said, pushing the paper towards her friend, "I'll be back in thirty minutes to get it."
As Riza left, Sheska sighed and looked down at the paper. She stared at it for a moment.
"Hey, wait!" She went to say something, but Riza was already gone. "It'll be risky setting up a new registration number without the government branch finding out..." She sighed, but took the paper into the back room to get started. She'd just have to make one in the registry and hope it went unnoticed.
Riza returned to Roy's office minutes later, a stack of paperwork under her arm and a cup of coffee in her other hand. Roy glanced up as she entered, then groaned in disdain.
"Riza, you really shouldn't have..." he said, scowling at the stack as Riza set it down. Riza just offered him a small, sympathetic smile as she set the cup in front of him. "Try to focus, Roy. It isn't too bad right now." She told him.
True. It was very peaceful today. No Edward around meant peace and quiet. But to Roy's dismay, now he was stuck worrying if the child was alright or not. Riza noticed how he jumped to the phone every time it rang.
Riza moved around the desk to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and placing her chin on top of his head. "Relax, Roy. Edward is fine. I'm sure Gracia would call if anything were wrong." She told him.
Roy worried at his lip for a moment. "I know. It's just..."
"I understand." Riza told him, before straightening. "Now you might want to work on that paperwork, sir." Riza said with an authoritative tone as she pulled away from him, walking back around the desk again. Just as she was headed for her post, the phone rang. She turned quickly and grabbed it before Roy could make a move. "I've got this one." She picked it up, placing it to her ear. "Colonel Mustang's office, First Lieutenant Hawkeye speaking." She greeted.
"Oh, hello Riza," Gracia's voice spoke on the other end, "You wouldn't be able to leave work at the moment, would you?" She asked.
"Why? What's wrong?" Riza asked, just the slightest hint of worry in her tone.
"Oh, it's nothing major, really. Edward just needs a change of clothes." Gracia replied. "He had an accident while he was taking a nap." She said.
"Oh...he wasn't sleeping in Elicia's bed, was he?" Riza asked.
"Oh, it's fine! Elicia still has accidents here and there, so I have a system worked out. It's already cleaned up, but I don't have any clothes that can fit him." Gracia replied.
"Alright. I'll be there in a bit." Riza replied, before setting the phone down. She looked at Roy. "Edward had an accident. Can I borrow your car? I'm going to run over to the house and grab a spare outfit." She said. Roy just nodded, staring at his paperwork blankly. "Oh, and get that certificate from Sheska in five minutes. I'll be back." Riza was then out the door, leaving Roy to grumble and complain about his paperwork.
"Edward, are you alright now?" Edward hadn't said a word since she had woken him up. He was sitting at the table on a towel, staring at the bowl of chicken noodle soup in front of him. He didn't reply. Gracia looked at him for a moment, before taking a seat next to him. "It's alright, Edward. Things happen; it's not your fault." She said gently.
"But...but I know how to go on my own..." Edward was upset about the whole thing. He had been chewing and sucking his thumb, nearly worrying the digit raw.
Gracia took his hand, pulling it from his mouth before he could damage it any further. She grabbed a paper towel, wiping it off. "It doesn't matter, Edward. You're going through a lot right now; I would be more surprised if you weren't showing signs of stress." She told him. She had gone through the same thing with Elicia when her husband had passed. The little girl was always sucking her thumb and wetting the bed.
Edward sniffed, burying his face into his arms. "I don't like it." He said, voice tiny. "I want it to stop."
Gracia didn't say anything. Instead, she placed a hand on his head. "You sure have some soft hair, Edward." She spoke suddenly. The change of topic worked like a charm.
Edward lifted his head, blinking. "My hair?" He repeated, reaching up to feel it. "It just feels like hair." He said, disappointed.
Gracia smiled at him. "Alright. Eat your soup and I'll go wait on your mom." She said, glad that she was able to distract him from the topic.
Edward just looked at the soup, not really wanting to eat it. His stomach hurt. He ate it all the same though, getting halfway through with it when there was a knock at the door. Gracia answered it, speaking briefly with Riza before returning to the Kitchen.
"Here Edward, I have a different set of clothes for you. Why don't you go get dressed, then we'll go get Elicia?" Gracia held the clothes out to him. Edward slowly slipped off of the chair, taking the clothes and going into the hallway to get to the bathroom. He returned several minutes later, wearing a red T-shirt and black pants.
Next stop was to go pick Elicia up.